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(CMC) – Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition Philip J. Pierre has been responding negatively to assertions that there could be a tourism backlash from the island’s failure to legalise marijuana.
Pierre, who is a former tourism minister, told reporters Wednesday that Saint Lucia can make a start by decriminalising possession of small portions of ganja.
He spoke against the backdrop of a warning by visiting Canadian marijuana expert, Marc Emery, that there could be a tourism backlash once the herb remains illegal here.
Emery asserted that visitors from places where marijuana is already legal will come to Saint Lucia expecting that the herb will be available and go elsewhere like Jamaica, when they recognise that it is not.
Emery also observed that some visitors may travel with marijuana and if arrested, could take their experience to social media.
“In specific relation to tourism what the expert says makes sense, because marijuana is still illegal in Saint Lucia and if you are in possession of marijuana the law will have to take effect and the police have no choice.”
Pierre expressed the view that the island could start by decriminalising small portions of marijuana and display at the airports what the situation is.
There could be “a little give and take,” the leader of the main opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party noted.
However, the Castries East legislator said he does not believe there will be a tourism backlash from a failure to legalise marijuana here.
“We have to look at the demographics of the tourists that come to S t Lucia. I don’t think it will have a negative impact immediately because what happens is that you cannot make a blanket statement. I like to base my opinion on research,” Pierre explained.
The Saint Lucia Cabinet has been meeting here with local marijuana promoters to discuss the possibility of making small portions of the drug legal and the possibility of cultivating the herb for the export market.